About three years ago I took a photo of a rockmelon in a Countdown supermarket in Tauranga, New Zealand. The rockmelon, to put it politely, was skanky. The reason I took the photo was not because of its skankyness but because above it was a sign saying ‘Australian Rockmelons, $7 each”.
Ever since I took that photo I have been meaning to blog about that photo but for some reason never got around to it and in the end, somehow lost the photograph into the black hole of my computer where quite a few files of mine mysteriously end up.
The other week however I found myself in the Coles supermarket in Kununurra, Western Australia where I came across a similar scene and this time I managed not to lose the photo!
Now by itself this scene does not worry me in the least. An expensive rockmelon that only the rich can afford because supply and demand has dictated that $6 is the price that it shall be. That’s business. That’s life.
Obesity is a world wide problem and Australia is not immune. In fact like most of our sporting teams we are right out there in poll position when it comes to being a country of lardies. Of course a lack of exercise, slothfulness and over eating are the main reason behind my country facing a health endemic. The only reason that this continent has not yet sunk beneath the waves is because our weight increase is being counter balanced by the amount of iron ore being dug out of the ground and sent to China.
Where I am going with all this? Please bear with me. Apart from the above reasons I gave to why we are a bunch of fatties another reason is that parents are filling up their kids with processed food simply because it is cheap and convenient. Bowl of Nutragrain for breakfast? You might as well just give them a glass of milk with 10 tablespoons of sugar stirred in. A sugar filled energy bar for morning tea? A processed sausage between a roll of sickly sweet white bread smothered in
sugar tomato sauce for lunch? Two minute noodles or a can of spaghetti for dinner? This is what a lot of kids are being fed every single day. Why would anyone who is time and money poor spend $6 (190 baht) on a rockmelon and serve that for morning tea instead of a sugar high muesli bar that costs around about 75 cents?
Not much we can do about it right? I mentioned earlier that market forces have dictated that rockmelons be $6 but what I didn’t mention is that they are grown a few kilometres down the road and that tons and tons of these rockmelons are being thrown out because they are don’t look good enough. Not round enough? Throw it out. A few superficial scratches on the skin? Throw it out. Not the farmers fault but the market and as a result we end up with people around the world paying exorbitant prices that only people that earn a decent wage can actually afford.
Here are a few photos of these rockmelons (as well as pumpkins and honeydew) sitting out in the sun rotting away.
I know someone who whenever he is in town swings by this pile and picks up a box full. He always brings a few over to my house and they are in perfect condition (on the inside) and my kids can’t get enough of them.
How long until we all wake up and realise that this type of waste cannot go on. It happens in most farming communities all over Australia and most of the developed world. Watching these fruit and vegetables decompose under a hot sun before my very eyes while kids are eating unhealthy food just down the road is in my opinion, a crime.